WTO boss rails against 'dot-com types'

Economics experts have ridiculed the WTO director general for identifying the wrong culprits

The head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has blamed "dot-com types" for recent anti-capitalist violence at WTO gatherings.

Speaking at the WTO symposium in Geneva on Friday, the director general Mike Moore lashed out at the "mindless, undemocratic enemies of the open society" who aim to prevent ministers and country leaders from meeting. He warned non-governmental organisations (NGOs) seeking change to distance themselves from "masked stone-throwers who claim to want more transparency, anti-globalisation dot-com types who trot out slogans that are trite, shallow and superficial".

"This will not do as a substitute as for civilised discourse," Moore added.

But Peter Sommer, research fellow at the London School of Economics, argues that Moore's accusation completely misses the point of dot-com culture. "There is plenty of liberty on the Internet, but not in the dot-com business as it is only interested in making a lot of money," he explains.

The Internet is increasingly being used as a forum for political activists to identify and communicate with each other. In April, a group of UK demonstrators organised a "virtual sit-in" against the trade group Free Trade Area of Americas (FTAA) in protest of its promotion of economic globalisation and defiance of its attempts to hamper street protests. City firms were also warned of the threat of hackers attempting to infiltrate their companies and sabotage their computer systems in the run up to anti-capitalist demonstrations in London on Mayday.

Sommer agrees that the Web is useful for organising anti-capitalist campaigns, but is adamant that Moore has wrongly identified the major groups involved in such protests. "He uses very loose language in condemning people -- it seems to me a great pity that he can't understand the [anti-globalisation] culture better."

See also: ZDNet UK's Net Crime News Section.

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